Nigeria

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Emergency alert

The United Nations has declared famine in parts of South Sudan, and has also announced that Yemen, Somalia, and parts of Nigeria are on the brink of famine. Your help is urgently needed to respond to these crises and others around the world.

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  • Photo: Corinna Robbins/Mercy Corps

Our strategy

Support communities in building innovative and sustainable solutions that promote a more peaceful and productive Nigeria.

The context

We have been working in Nigeria since 2012. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, and its influence spreads across the continent. Yet, inequality and insecurity have consistently undermined Nigeria's development — and therefore the region's stability. Roughly 70 percent of the country lives in poverty, and in many areas as many as 80 percent of women are illiterate.

The growing threat from Boko Haram only exacerbates significant ethnic and religious violence that stems from income inequality and conflict over diminishing natural resources. Learn more about the hunger crisis in the Lake Chad region ▸

Many areas in northeast Nigeria are at risk of famine and at least 55,000 people are already experiencing famine-like conditions in Borno State, Nigeria alone. 5.1 million people are in urgent need of food assistance. Conflict provoked by Boko Haram has displaced approximately 1.6 million people, and farmers who have been displaced are unable to return to their homes to plant crops.

Low crop yields and high staple food prices, combined with political unrest and chronic underdevelopment, means that millions of people will continue to have urgent food needs. Get the quick facts about famine ▸

It's critical that we help communities address tensions and prevent marginalized populations from being exploited and participating in destructive behaviors. At the same time, we respond to immediate humanitarian needs of households affected by conflict through emergency assistance. We particularly focus on supporting young women, so they can participate in and contribute equally to their country in positive ways.

Our work

  • Conflict & Governance: Working to reduce tension between pastoralists and farmers, as well as different religious groups, to promote local livelihoods and economic growth.
  • Children & Youth: Implementing adolescent girls’ learning and empowerment across the country to create safe spaces and build life and business skills, then link young people to job or business opportunities that enable them to earn an independent income.
  • Economic opportunity: Helping families access financial services, like loans, and job skills to strengthen their ability to make informed economic decisions within their households.
  • Emergency Response: Meeting the urgent needs of households affected by the conflict by providing cash assistance, food vouchers, water and shelter, while connecting them to income opportunities that help create long-term and long-lasting solutions.

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